To evaluate whether the coronavirus disease 2019 has increased anxiety, depression, and distress levels in head and neck cancer (HNC) patients undergoing radiotherapy (RT).
In this cross-sectional study, RT-HNC patients were surveyed using the Hospital Anxiety and Depression scale (HADS) for anxiety and depression and the Distress Thermometer (DT) for distress. HADS scores were compared with data pre-COVID-19. Additionally, we evaluated the COVID-19 impact on daily routines, treatment, and cancer care through a questionnaire.
Fifty patients were included. The HADS mean score and estimated rates were 4.34 (± 4.06)/ 22% for anxiety; 5.08 (± 4.82)/ 22% for depression; in comparison, our historical control had 4.04 (± 3.59)/ 20% for anxiety (p=0.79); and 4.03 (± 3.62)/ 17% for depression (p=0.49). Mean DT score was 3.68 (± 2.77). Responders were aware of COVID-19, afraid of having medical complications, believed it was life-threatening, did not miss appointments, believed their treatment was not impacted, and felt safe at the hospital amid the pandemic.
This study suggests that anxiety, depression, and distress levels found in RT-HNC patients did not increase during the pandemic. Patients were afraid of being infected by COVID-19; however, they complied with their cancer treatment.

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